I've been getting a lot of calls regarding tonight being a "Blue Moon". Here's the technicall explanation from the chief meteorologist at our Raycom sister station in Savannah on what it's not...
Well, to be very technical, a “Blue” moon is the extra full moon in a season.
Normally, each season has 3 full moons, one per month. There is the "early season" full moon, the "mid season" and "late season". In the event of four full moons in a season, the THIRD full moon is labeled as the “Blue” moon keeping the fourth one as the “Late Season” full moon.
So, in actuality, this upcoming full moon is the “Early season” full moon, since winter began Dec 21. The technical “Blue” moon won’t be at all this season, since the second full moon will be Jan 30 and the third Feb 28. This spring season will have only 3 full moons as well (Mar 30, Apr 28, May 27) and Summer only 3 full moons (Jun 26, Jul 26 and Aug 24). But, autumn of 2010 will have four full moons (Sep 23, [the day after the autumnal equinox], Oct 23, Nov 21 and Dec 21)
So, the date of the next “Blue” moon, via being very very technical, then would be Nov 21, 2010 (third full moon of the four in a season). So what’s the big deal? It’s not going to be blue in color anyway! But it does make it more rare, as in “Once in a blue moon”.
Skies will be cloudy tonight with a few snowflakes across the northern tier of Alabama. There will be no accumulation or travel problems with this system. Sunshine will return Friday giving us a gorgeous New Year's Day. Expect chilly temperatures with highs only around 42. I think the big weather story will be the huge temperature drop beginning this weekend and lasting through next week. There will be plenty of sunshine both days. Prepare for the coldest temperatures so far this Winter as a trough digs deep into the Southeast with freezing temperatures all the way to the Florida panhandle. Lows Tuesday and Wednesday will dip into the mid teens across Central Alabama. We'll continue to monitor conditions late next week for the possibility of some Wintry weather.
For those going to Tampa Friday for the Auburn game - it looks like mostly cloudy conditions with temperatures around 60. The PapaJohn's.com bowl looks cold and dry with temperatures around 42 at Legion Field. Looking ahead to Pasedena, expect sunshine with temperatures in the upper 60s next week.
Fox 6 Chief Meteorologist
New Years day. We should see some clearing following the frontal passage and a very chilly day with a high that may not reach 50 degrees, and a stout northwest wind will make it feel even cooler.
The chilly temperatures are here to stay for a while. Highs this weekend will top out in the middle to upper 40s, with lows in the mid 20s. Things get even colder next week, as an Arctic airmass slides into the state. Highs for most of the work week will stay in the upper 30s to lower 40s, with lows in the lower 20s.
There are some interesting possibilities in the Wed-Fri timeframe of next week, with the possibility of an area of low pressure forming in the Gulf with cold air in place over Alabama. Historically, this can be a snow setup for the South. Still way to early to be certain. We'll watch.
If you thought we had a lot of rain this year, you we're right. 2009 will go down in the record books as the 7th wettest year in Huntsville. With last night's rainfall, the grand total for this year recorded at Huntsville International Airport is...drumroll please...67.70"...almost a foot more rain than we see in an average year. We missed the all time record of 73.58" set back in 1989 by a little less than six inches. It's hard to believe we were in a severe drought a mere 2 years ago when we had our driest year on record with only 28.65" of rain in all of 2007!
WAFF 48 Storm Team
Rain should continue through early Thursday morning. In fact, we may have a few periods of heavy rain between Birmingham and Montgomery. Temperatures will remain steady at between 42 and 44 degrees F for most of the area. The rain should taper off by mid-morning Thursday leaving us with a cloudy sky. A cool front may trigger a few more showers by Friday morning. It's possible we could see a few flurries or snowflakes in our northern counties - very insignificant. New Year's Day still looks chilly with highs in the mid 40s. Expect colder temperatures over the weekend with lows in the mid 20s. Dry weather should prevail through the first part of next week. Have a great evening! James-Paul Dice, Fox 6 Chief Meteorologist
Looks like a wet night ahead across our area. The rainfall will not be particularly heavy, so this will be nothing like the last storm system we dealt with on Christmas Eve which brought heavy rain and even a tornado watch to parts of the state. This one will be nothing like that. Much of the concentrated rain will be out of here by morning, but there could be a few spotty showers left over mainly during the first half of Thursday, New Years Eve.
Clouds should linger for much of New Years Eve and through the overnight hours. Another cold front arrives in the state late that night. That will user in a band of rain into north Alabama. Right now, it appears that we should be dry in the Montgomery at Midnight New Years Eve with temperatures in the mid 40's. However, a band of showers will move into the area in the early morning ours, so the first morning of 2010 could be a little wet, before colder air sweeps on gusty northwest winds during the day.
Look for a very chilly but dry New Years weekend.
After the chilly weekend, there are indications that we could see a significant intrusion of Arctic air by early next week. We'll keep an eye on this for you in the days ahead.
If you missed our Winter Weather special last Tuesday, I made a prediction at the end of the program for this Winter. The prediction is based on past climate, previous El Nino Winters, data from the Climate Prediction Center, and analysis of global patterns. I do think this is a season where we will likely get some measurable snowfall. We'll see how it works out.
Fox 6 Chief Meteorologist
If skies clear any as we wrap up 2009 and begin 2010 you may see a rare New Year's Eve sight...the 2nd full moon of the month. The first happened on December 2nd. The term "blue moon" refers to this second full moon. It only happens every 2 and half years due to the number of days between full moons...approximately every 29.5 days. To get a blue moon on New Year's Eve is even rarer...the last one was in 1990.
WAFF 48 Storm Team
It appears our chances for rain will be highest during the late afternoon Wednesday and during the evening/overnight hours. Rainfall amounts should total less than .5"
Fox 6 Chief Meteorologist
Clouds are already rolling in ahead of the next weather system swinging out of the southwestern states which threatens to bring another round of rain to the area, perhaps as early as late Wednesday afternoon, but more likely Wednesday evening and Wednesday night across the area with rainfall amounts most likely in the .50 to 1 range. The showers will still be around on Thursday morning, the last day of 2009, before drier air begins to move in. Midnight on New Years Eve should be generally dry across much of the state, but chilly with temperatures in the upper 30's.
New years day will be dry but cold as high struggle to reach about 50. Even colder air will arrive New Years night into the weekend. Highs will only be in the 40's with lows at night plummeting to the lower 20's. A minor storm system could affect the area by Sunday night into early Monday, but it now appears that most of the available moisture with this system will track south of Alabama.